Book of the Issue: Little Women

Generations of readers, young and old, have fallen in love with the coming-of-age classic— “Little Women.”

Book of the Issue: Little Women

Sofia Ramirez and Dionne Peterson

To Christmas dinners, broken hearts, and finding independence—“Little Women,” a classic by Louisa May Alcott, has captured readers’ hearts with an endearing coming-of-age story.

The book is set in the 19th century during the Civil War in Massachusetts. It follows the tale of four sisters; Meg, the oldest and primary caretaker; Jo, the headstrong and ambitious writer; Beth; the quiet music lover; and Amy, the ardent artist.

The family lacks financial stability, making Christmas a special holiday for the girls. On Christmas, the girls woke up excited and animated for their annual morning Christmas feast. But before they eat, their mother explains that a poor woman is down the street with an infant with no food. She asks the girls if they would like to donate their Christmas breakfast as a present.

Although the girls were starving and had been awaiting this for the entire year, they willingly gave up their breakfast without a second thought.

Luckily, an elderly man who is their neighbor happens to have noticed their kind gesture and gifts them with a dinner feast. Through this man, they could befriend a boy named Laurie, who would be lifelong comrades with the girls.

Louisa May Alcott conveys a message of kindness and hope through her coming-of-age story, which was vaguely modeled after her own life. Alcott’s early life was filled with activities considered appropriate for a lady, however, craving something greater from life, she started writing. Her experience fueled the passion inside the protagonist of “Little Women,” Jo, who struggled to make a name for herself as an author in a world dominated by men.

Almost immediately after the book was published, “Little Women” shot to fame and brought prosperity to Alcott and her family, who had previously been struggling financially.

The novel’s fame went past the 1900s and well into the 21st century, with five major production movies modeled after the book, the latest being Little Women (2019), starring Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep.

Generations of children have been captivated by the novel and the message of resilience behind it. As Grace Trautwein, a junior at Laguna Blanca, said, “Even through heartbreaking events, the girls were still able to find happiness.”

The intricate writing and the uplifting message have cemented the book as a classic novel of American literature and a must-read for children of all ages.